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Oil falls toward $102 a barrel in Europe after Iran nuclear talks
LONDON (AP) ' Oil fell to near $102 a barrel Monday after negotiators said meetings over Iran's nuclear program last weekend began on a positive note, easing tensions that had sent crude higher.
Benchmark oil for May delivery was down 29 cents to $102.54 a barrel by at early afternoon European time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 81 cents to settle at $102.83 in New York on Friday.
Brent crude for May delivery was down $1.35 at $119.86 per barrel in London.
Iran met Saturday in Istanbul with representatives from the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in a bid to ease fears that Tehran may seek to build nuclear weapons. Officials said the talks began with a positive tone, in contrast to the previous round 14 months ago, which ended without progress.
The sides agreed to meet on May 23 in Baghdad for further talks.
Concern that a military strike by Israel and the U.S. against Iran's nuclear facilities would disrupt global crude supplies has helped push crude up from $75 in October. Iranian crude output has fallen in recent months as the U.S. and Europe begin to impose economic sanctions on OPEC's second-biggest producer.
Crude has dropped from $110 last month amid signs global crude supplies are outstripping demand. Rising crude output by Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer, slowing Chinese economic growth and weak demand in developing countries "all continue to lean in favor of lower prices," energy trader and analyst Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.
In other energy trading, heating oil was down 2.6 cents to $3.15 per gallon and gasoline futures slid 2.4 cents to $3.32 per gallon. Natural gas fell 0.2 of a cent to $1.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.